Some Reminders Again Lake Safety Committee
By: Bruce C. Bower
A couple of reminders about jet-ski driving: you must be 16 and have an Ohio Boating license, you must be carrying this license with you while operating AND you can only pull a tube or skier if you have a 3 person ski with ONLY one person in water. Lot’s of math here but……. ONE person to drive, ONE to watch the tube and ONE on tube. One and one and one equals three, yup a 3 person jet-ski, that’s what you must have! Here’s another tough thing to remember, you must have a red or orange flag to put up so the person who falls in water doesn’t get hit by another ski or boat. These are State laws, not merely suggestions!
Speaking of flags, it appears to me that the flag usage is slacking off again. Lift those flags up high, high enough so that is visible above the structure of your watercraft from ALL directions. There was an incident where a jet-ski came mighty close to a fallen skier in the water. I am not suggesting that it was the lack of an enthusiastic flag holder in this case, only that the jet pilots are too busy speeding, standing, playing tag with the other jet pilots, jumping wakes and all around just “having fun”. I would highly encourage downed skiers to either hold up their arms over their heads or point their ski or skis up out of the water. Make yourself as highly visible as you can to speeding crafts around you. There are a lot of distracted operators out there, take every defensive action you can in order to protect yourself.
Here’s another beauty that is starting up again. People are sitting outside of the “playpen” on pontoon boats while in motion. The playpen is the term for the floor space within the rails of the craft. If you fall into the water between the pontoons while in motion, there is no way to NOT get injured or killed. Seems simple, but people don’t think of what could happen, oh yeah, we’re here to have fun, I forgot.
The last time, I called ODNR Columbus and asked what was happening with a possible law to limit very small children passengers on jet skis, here is what I got back: “there are no current proposals to set a minimum age or size for a passenger on a personal watercraft. The situation you describe is fairly uncommon so a law change would likely not be supported”. I won’t preach on this topic in the future, we have other safety situations to solve that are legal infractions, not moral duties first.
And yet another, I can’t tell you in the short period of time that I am watching the lake at night, I see the misuse of lights on the boats. I can’t remember how many times I have written about what dog gone lights to use and which ones not to use. Let’s try a simple rule first. DO NOT USE YOUR DOCK LIGHTS WHILE OPERATING AFTER DUSK! You blind the other boaters on the lake. These lights are to be used only for when you are docking. That’s why these lights are called “docking lights’, not “blinding lights”. I’ll try to explain the other laws about lights later, I don’t want to complicate this too much.
As always, call me if questions or comments. Bower out 216.906.2301